Spuds MacKenzie

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Spuds MacKenzie in an ad.

Spuds MacKenzie is a fictional dog character created for use in an extensive advertising campaign marketing Bud Light beer in the late 1980s. The Spuds MacKenzie mascot and campaign were created by a 23-year-old art director, Jon Moore. At the time he was working at Needham, Harper & Steers, a Chicago, Illinois, advertising agency. The dog first showed up in a Bud Light Super Bowl XXI ad in 1987.[1]

The dog, portrayed by a female bull terrier named Honey Tree Evil Eye,[2] did have some controversy. Shortly after Spuds' rise to fame it was learned that the dog, who was portrayed as male in the ads, was actually female.[3] The ads were also the subject of attacks and calls for censorship by temperance-oriented groups. Soon after the ads were first aired in 1987, Senator Strom Thurmond began his own media campaign, claiming that the beer maker was using Spuds to appeal to children for the purpose of getting them interested in their product at an early age.[4] By Christmas 1987, more legal action resulted from Budweiser's use of ads featuring Spuds dressed as Santa, which is illegal in states such as Ohio.[5]

In 1989, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, along with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, alleged that Anheuser-Busch was pitching the dog to children. Although the Federal Trade Commission found no evidence to support that allegation, Anheuser-Busch decided to retire Spuds in 1989, claiming that the character's image had started to overshadow the product.

In 2017, the character appeared in Bud Light's advertisement in Super Bowl LI as a ghost helping a man named Brian reunite with his friends in an homage to Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol. The house number in this advertisement's last segment is 1989, paying homage to the year Spuds was retired.[6]

The dog's real name was Honey Tree Evil Eye or Evie for short (October 7, 1983 – May 31, 1993). She was from Woodstock, Illinois, and lived in North Riverside, Illinois, with her owner family. She died of kidney failure in North Riverside, Illinois.[7] [8]

The company sponsored many rescue dogs from the kennel in Illinois where Evie was from.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Spuds McKenzie: Official Party Animal". Bull Terrier Club of Dallas. Retrieved 2012-11-23.
  2. ^ Beachamp, Rick (27 October 2011). "Dog and Kennel Magazine". Archived from the original on 27 October 2011. Retrieved 13 December 2018.
  3. ^ a b Eric Zorn (1987-09-13). "Spuds Is A Dud As A Party Guy -He's A Girl". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved 2020-06-26.
  4. ^ "Teetotaler Thurmond Raps Spuds McKenzie". Associated Press. 13 November 1987. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  5. ^ "Spuds Can't Promote Beer Dressed as Santa". Associated Press. 2 December 1987. Retrieved 23 November 2012.
  6. ^ Taylor, Kate (February 2, 2017). "Bud Light is bringing back a controversial mascot who once helped sales soar 20%". Business Insider.
  7. ^ "Honey Tree "Spuds" Mackenzie". Find A Grave.
  8. ^ "Spuds MacKenzie is dead". UPI. Retrieved 2020-06-02.